Life of Pi is a complex text with many literary, philosophical, psychological and spiritual concerns. In my experience, students often miss these concerns when they read the text alone. As a result, I developed this assignment that allows a class to "share" in the reading experience and make richer, deeper meaning of the text by actively studying it together.
Each student is responsible for a section of the book (around 10 pages). They must pre-read and analyze their section, then prepare to lead the reading and the discussion of those assigned pages. The rest of the class, in turn, is learning to take notes and listen for important ideas as their classmates leads them through the important ideas.
I assess the students' ability to read orally, to share strong insights, and I also assess their notemaking and notetaking abilities through the unit.
Students have given me very strong feedback that they feel they really understood the novel and learned the processes required for truly diving into a complex literary text.